By John Vogl
Shortly after Brian Gionta slipped on his Sabres jersey for the first time, Buffalo's new No. 12 wandered over to the Sabres Store. He needed to pick up gear for his three kids, ages 9, 6 and 2.
Gionta knew what they would like because he was a young Sabres fan once.
The Rochester native is as close to home as he's going to get, and he was happy to be formally welcomed to town today in First Niagara Center.
"This was my childhood team growing up, and it’s a dream to play for them and put on the jersey," Gionta said. "I can’t wait till September comes."
The 35-year-old was the key part of Buffalo's free agent frenzy Monday. The Sabres signed five veterans to lead the rebuild.
"By no means am I going to come here and work miracles," Gionta said, "but I just try to be a presence and be somebody for the young guys coming along, being around and having some experience in the league that they can be a sounding board."
Sabres General Manager Tim Murray is spending today reshuffling NHL depth charts after players moved often during the opening day of free agency. He's looking at signing a couple of players for the Rochester Americans in the next two days or so. Then he'll work with Ted Nolan to find assistant coaches.
"Whatever other surprises comes, comes," Murray said. "That certainly won’t be me. It’ll be if somebody likes someone on our team or something like that."
Tim Murray and Brian Gionta